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Yes, Bob, it’s a toughie …

No sooner had yesterday’s lament about a non-existent anti-litter movement been posted when faithful reader Bob in Des Moines, Iowa shot me this response:

This is a tough one Dave…Hardly anyone wants to pick up other people’s stuff. There are those that pick up litter because it makes them feel good and it gives them a sense of purpose but the vast majority just don’t care. I see people in my neighborhood on trash day with litter laying beside their garbage containers and they won’t pick the stuff up to put it in the container and it lays there for a week or until I put it in their containers for them. HMMMM…we could spend some money and make tshirts or trash bags but that is just adding to the problem.

I suppose one reason our streets and paths look as they do (disheveled, messy, junky, cluttered, et al) is because people are, as Bob infers, ambivalent about what lies outside the perimeter of their property. I know none of this for certain so this viewpoint is merely an educated guess that Bob and I seem to share.

Bob has a valid point. People don't care or they would take some sort of action. I don't know how to sway people in that direction other than to keep doing what me and others are doing - picking up after others.

Bob has a valid point. People don’t care or they would take some sort of action. I don’t know how to sway people in that direction other than to keep doing what me and others are doing – picking up after others.

Yet there are both visual and reclaimable resource components to litter; the sight of fast food containers, bottles and cans and other junk by the literal ton is tough for anyone to see. I say ‘ton’ because even a conservative guess at the amount of recyclables I’ve hauled to the curb after dumping out untold bags of crap out on my driveway as photographic evidence of slobbery as well as sorting for ‘reclamation’ is easily more than 3,000 lbs. (My computation is 2.5 lbs. per day x 300 days. And I’m intentionally shorting the volume and the days walked.) A ton and a half is a lot of crap yanked from the length of one 2.5 mile environment.

So the cynic in me – and I suspect in Bob, too – would wonder ‘What if even 5% of the populace would join ranks with and remove even one-two pieces of litter/junk per day?’ Now that would really be something.

As for Bob’s suggestion about a t-shirt or trash bags, I’ll be all over that. Stay tuned.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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